So it has been a week (almost) of fasting from cable TV news.

Aside from a little 15-minute "cheat" the other night I have stayed the course

and some really nice space has opened up in my soul and my mind.

This morning I read a poem by Rumi, a 13th century Sufi poet, and his ancient words rang so true to me.

He writes about fasting from food but the truth can be transposed to any type of abstention.

See what you think:


There is a hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness.

We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox

is stuffed full of anything, no music comes.

But if brain and belly are burning clean

with fasting, every moment a new song

comes out of the fire.


The fog clears and new energy

makes you run up the steps in front of you.

Be emptier, and cry like reed instruments cry.

Emptier, write secrets with your reed pen.


When you are full of food and drink, an ugly metal

statue sits where your spirit should. When you fast,

good habits gather like friends who want to help.

Fasting is Solomon's ring. Don't give it

to some illusion and lose your power, but even if you have,

if you have lost all will and control,

they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing

out of the ground, penants flying above them.


A table descends to your tents, Jesus' table.

Expect to see it when you fast, this table spread

with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.



I am curious ...

From what do you need to fast so that Jesus' table can descend to your tent?

In what ways do you need to live with more emptiness so that brain and belly are burning clean?

What new songs might emerge from the fire of your fast?

Do you need the fog to clear and new energy to run up the steps in front of you?

Consider fasting from something that stuffs you so full that no music comes,

and watch for good habits to gather like friends who want to help.


Preach Rumi, preach!